This past “summer” in the Netherlands was pretty much what I’ve come to expect after two years.
It was cold. It was cloudy. It was wet. I grumbled and pouted and questioned nearly every day why I had chosen to live in such a godforsaken place, which I can only assume means I should get my Dutch passport in the mail any day now. (“Je bent één van ons. Veel sterkte.”)
But as much as I know you all love to hear me complain (why else would you be here?), I am also aware it can, like all good things, become tiresome. So rather than simply rant about Dutch weather, I’d actually like to rave — just a little — about Minnesota’s.
I know. I know.
But Simon and I just returned from a few weeks in my home state, and the weather was — in a word — incredible.
In more words: it was the ultimate late summer experience. There were sunny skies, high temperatures, rather appalling humidity, and that recurring relief when a cool breeze cuts through the air. Lakes and swimsuits were involved. There may have been a barbecue. There was definitely sunscreen (though, for some of us, not nearly enough).
None of this removes the pain of impending Dutch autumn (which, coincidentally, looks an awful lot like Dutch winter and Dutch spring), but it does help. A little.
I’ll talk more about Minnesota soon — you can count on it. However, lest you think everyone in the Netherlands would be blinded if you were to suddenly introduce sunlight into their lives right now, let me clarify. This summer hasn’t been a total bust. In fact, it started out rather promisingly.
The first clear blue skies and high-20s temps came along just in time for Bevrijdingsdag, or “Liberation Day” — a holiday marking the end of the Netherlands’ occupation during WWII, celebrated each year on the 5th of May. We spent the day at Overijssel’s festival in Zwolle, listening to live music, eating ice cream, and drinking beer (though not necessarily at the same time).
We also lucked out later on in July, when we headed down to Nijmegen for the 100th annual Vierdaagse — the largest walking event in the world, with over 40,000 participants and thousands more spectators and supporters.
It was so hot during the Vierdaagse, the brief but significant downpour we experienced shortly after arriving was a welcome relief. Simon and I met his sister Anneke at the finish line, and we were disgruntled to realize that she had just walked 40 kilometers and looked fresher than the two of us, who’d merely been hanging out on the sidelines. (See also: more sunburns.)
And that’s not all. There were one or two other summery moments scattered throughout the past few months, like an afternoon in nearby Ommen spent lolling on the banks of the Vecht; or a meet-up with a few other travel bloggers in Utrecht that ended up at a canalside café. (The bright side of consistently shit weather is, you learn to seize the day whenever you get the opportunity, however few and far between they may be.)
My point here is twofold. One, it’s possible I complain too much.
Two, I guess I’m as ready for autumn as I’ll ever be. Which is lucky, considering yesterday was the equinox. (Do you guys think it’s too early to start talking about Christmas?)